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Chasing The American Dream

February 12, 2005


So this piece of rope walks into a bar, sits down, and tells the bartender, “I’ll have a Jack & Coke.” The bartender looks up at the rope and is astonished! Bartender says to the rope, “Look dude, we don’t serve pieces of rope in this establishment!” Oooh, that pissed Mr. Rope off. He starts doing all these crazy gyrations, genuflecting, and twisting himself up in a bind. He grabs a straight razor and starts shaving himself. He stares at the bartender and says, “Piece of rope? I’m a frayed knot!”

Two hours of highway driving on Mondays and Fridays allows me much time to think. Perhaps, too much. I think about what I’ve written thus far in this here bloggie. I try to mix it up a little, keep you a bit off balance, all within the context of me simply writing for me. So I think about general topics and what’s going on in my life. Happenstances intercept my preconceived pattern. So I drive and I think. Rarely do I come up with anything good. It’s my pal Gazoo that’s the driving force of my creativity. He pops into my brain and jolts me with an idea or a concept, and I take it from there. Case in point, this post.

I’m doing around 82 in a 70 MPH zone on Interstate 75, and I see a State Trooper up ahead. OK everybody, what’s our knee-jerk reaction? Hit the breaks, right? Not me. Not anymore. I see the cars ahead of me, their taillights now illuminated, their rate of speed decreasing. I say to myself aloud, “get out of the left lane boys, I’m coming through.” For I no longer have time for fear. No time to be afraid of a little ol’ cop. I may be fearless now, perhaps to a fault, but I’m not totally stupid. My only concession is trying to get back to the right lane, the ‘slow’ lane. I speed past the trooper. It’s a scenario that’s repeated on average of about five times per trip. At the same time I’m passing my blue light friend, my mind conjures up an excuse or rather a story I may need to relate as to why I’m speeding. My story is an honest one. Yes I’m speeding officer, but I’m not being reckless and I consider it reasonable. I’ve been driving for 28 years and have never gotten a ticket. Give me a ticket if you must, but I’d really like to keep this streak going. I’m fairly OK at storytelling, no? Hmm, maybe he’ll buy it? I’m not very good at getting to the point however, but bear with me. I’m getting there.

The story to Mr. Trooper, my confidence, my living-on-the-edge attitude, and yes, my new driving pattern all coincide with the changes I’ve made within myself. I’ve talked about the Garden State-of-mind. Gazoo told me that an analysis and comparison of one’s driving pattern to one’s personality may make for some interesting writing and discussion points. Ahh, so that’s where we’re going! So let’s delve, shall we?

For the past 16 years, up until last May, I drove my baby. It (I don’t go for the personification of describing a car as a she), was the first car I bought on my own. A 5-speed 1989 Honda Civic. A fast car, it was not, conservative actually. A lot like I was back then. And I drove it that way, too. Hovering barely over the speed limit, worried about getting a ticket to ruin my perfect driving record. Like Rainman, I’m an excellent driver. At least I was back then. Playing it safe, driving in the right lane, totally a straight shooter. Ah, but that was the Old Me.

The Civic had 115,000 miles on it when I drove from Phoenix to Plantation. Like Cameron Frye of Ferris Bueller fame, I killed the car. That 2,500 mile journey was too much. I took it to a Honda dealer and got an estimate of about $5,000 to fix everything. The car was worth maybe half of that. I needed a new car, and I needed it soon before my baby totally stopped running.

Timing is everything. I should certainly know that. My timing with women sucks. But I digress. A good friend of mine was buying a new car, so I asked him if he wanted to sell his old one to me? He agreed. The deal was simple and done. For a mere $9,500, I was the proud new owner of a 1998 C230 Mercedes-Benz. My sentimental feelings for my Civic were forgotten in about an hour. Wow! I had a stereo AND air conditioning! And compared to my Civic, this car felt and drove like a race car.

I think the last of the Old Me went with my old car. With the new car, came more of the New Me. I’m driving faster, no fear of getting a ticket, driving more aggressively, more carefree, more loose, enjoying the ride, driving in the left lane, blasting my music, having a ball. Now I’m not to the point of reckless, but I don’t think my driving is necessarily excellent anymore. I’m accelerating faster and stopping shorter, cutting corners sharper, laughing at myself. Yes, this *is* the new me. And I’m willing to bet that for each of us, our driving pattern mirrors our personalities and approach to life. My particular patterns, old *and* new, match precisely.

Afraid? Not. I’m confident now. I no longer fear getting a ticket, or fear flying, or fear death, or fear pretty women, or fear dating, or fear courtrooms with bitchy divorce lawyers trying to intimidate me, or fear CFO’s/CEOs, or fear pissing off clients, or fear eating raw fish, or fear being intimate with women, or fear the unknown, or fear being alone. Well, maybe that last one is a bit of a stretch, but I *am* working hard on it.


  • Wonderful Post, PT.

    Hey! Enjoy your weekend!!

    By Blogger Amanda, at 6:01 AM, February 12, 2005  

  • Do you fear death?
    Or the process of dying?

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 8:38 AM, February 12, 2005  

  • Tks Amanda, U2.
    Twas both LX. Neither now.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 9:20 AM, February 12, 2005  

  • What's your take on Jews driving German cars?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:03 AM, February 12, 2005  

  • You're probably like me--I can't wait for Death. FINALLY...I'll be able to sleep.

    I don't think people realize what it's like to be an insomniac.

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 10:07 AM, February 12, 2005  

  • Funny you should mention this, Lain. Old Me and New Me had a heart-to-heart about this. Old Me said there ain't no way you're drivin' a German car. Sacreligious. Another rule was born. New Me came along and rescinded yet another rule. Besides, it was the most practical thing I could possibly do.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 10:11 AM, February 12, 2005  

  • i fear haggis

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:16 PM, February 12, 2005  

  • great post. been kinda depressed lately that i drive a minivan to carpool my kids a ound and what that says about who i am...

    also, on the german car thing -- i can't bring myself to buy a german car given that my grandparents survival of nazi death camps. but i know another survivor who specifically bought german cars and said "now they have to work for me"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:11 PM, February 12, 2005  

  • I have a question... your Old Me and New Me, are they different people? Split personality-ish? Or just variations on the real You?

    PS. Mercedes... sweet. And what an incredible deal! Also, women love nice cars. :) Although I have to say, I really do love my old trusty Honda.

    By Blogger girl from florida, at 5:29 PM, February 12, 2005  

  • GFF, after I separated, I left the 'Old Me' behind and began my new life as the New Me. Variations true, but I've totally changed and am a more complete person {at least I think so} now. Yes, I got the deal of a lifetime and yes, Honda's rock!

    By Blogger Plantation, at 9:45 PM, February 12, 2005  

  • I really hope that the "Old You" will be driving the car when there are passengers, especially small ones who should definitely be sitting in the back seat with their seatbelt securely fastened!

    You may not be afraid of death...but then you don't exactly have your whole life ahead of you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:42 AM, February 13, 2005  

  • Indeed Anon. I will most definitely scale it back as you mentioned.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 2:04 AM, February 13, 2005  

  • PL, german or not, one thing i have learned about women, they like nice cars. now, many may deny it, and call those types of women shallow, materialistic, etc. but its fact, i drove a renault alliance, honda prelude, mazda mx6, and when i got my TT, i got more attention than all the others combined. now, you still have to be able to close the deal, but the car helps to bring women to the deal table, giving you the opportunity to make the sale. ABC, always be closing (to quote one of my all time favorite movies, any guesses?).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:24 PM, February 13, 2005  

  • I didn't read much of your post, but I see that your readers seem to have enjoyed it.

    Attention Readers! If you want some REALLY GOOD material, head on over to my blog.

    You will never be the same (In a good way).

    By Blogger Wino McHackenpuke, at 9:43 PM, February 13, 2005  

  • anon...so far the car hasn't helped.

    GGGR for the movie...

    By Blogger Plantation, at 9:44 PM, February 13, 2005  

  • Wino, thanks for stopping by (I think). I don't know if it's me, but what you wrote wasn't exactly flattering. R U really trying to gain readers or just enemies? Good luck dude.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 9:54 PM, February 13, 2005  

  • Yo, I hooked up some serious booty with a VW Fox back in the day. That's 'cause I'm so purty and clever...

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 8:27 PM, February 16, 2005  

  • P.S. Wino Mchackenschweiss' blog sucks.

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 8:28 PM, February 16, 2005  

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